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Netflix Rummaging - Gantz: 0

Gantz: 0 is not Rated, but I would suggest Mature Audiences only

In these early days of the tech boom we have more options when it comes to deciding what will entertain us. The internet alone has enough content to keep us occupied for a good several minutes and after that we have a plethora of old world distractions to keep us entertained. I hear the good ole book is making a comeback. With all these options however, we sometimes become overwhelmed and fall into what my wife and I call the “hole”. The “hole” is state one finds themselves in when all options of entertainment are so adequately desirable that none are desirable. I fell into the “hole” the other day.

While I was making myself a delicious lunch of shrimp flavored Maruchan noodles I realized I had nothing else to occupy my mind other than feeding my face. Like a good American, I decided to enjoy my pepper water starch snack in front of the television. I fired up the PS4 and got the Netflix running. After several hours of perusing I was still undecided. My neglected noodles had soaked up all the broth in the bowl and had gone cold. My eyes were dry and my hair seemed longer. I decided to take a chance and pick a show at random. My choice of distraction was a CG animated film titled Gantz: 0, out of Japan. I would describe it as the over-the-top end sequence of Cabin in the Woods finessed with the choreography of a Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers dance scene. I liked it.

Gantz: 0 is based on a popular Japanese manga series by the same name. From what I’ve read online the movie stays true enough to the source material, but it’s still convoluted as hell. I won’t go into detail in case one of you delightful readers decides to watch, but I’ll give you the gist. Japan is being invaded by an alien race that resembles monsters of folklore and human nightmares. To combat the invasion, a mysterious black sphere called Gantz resurrects the recently deceased and has them to fight the monster horde, with a few criteria. Seeming to have spawned from some hellish existences where video games have transcended to cosmic order, the sphere designs each combat mission as a “stage”, complete with a final boss. The newly dead players, if they aren’t killed again, are given 2-hours to destroy all the bad guys and are then rated on their murder count. Bigger the baddie, bigger the points. When the player accumulates 100 points they then choose one of three rewards: better weapons, resurrect a dead player, or be set free from the game with their life intact. That’s it. Simple, right?

Now, I call the storyline convoluted, but being a lifelong gamer I was able to understand it. For those who aren’t familiar with video game order, don’t be deterred. The standout element of this film isn’t the story. In most circumstances I would never say story is not important, but in this case it is. Gantz’s draw is its fantastically horrific animation and character design. It reminds me of the slasher films of the 80’s, the sequels to A Nightmare on Elm Street in particular. Let’s be honest, after the original no one really cared about what motivated the characters, it was all about the way in which they were slaughtered. In the early days of traditional special effects artists had to be innovative when making  frightening dreams a reality and their hard work paid off and made horror movies really fun to watch. The “roach motel” death scene in A Nightmare on Elm Street 4 is a disturbingly awesome example. If you haven’t seen it, see it. Better yet, watch the whole Freddy series. And if you have seen it, watch it again and this time focus on the special effects. The effects guys were masters in their class and so deserving of more acclaim. Back to Gantz; though the animation team uses computer generated effects, their love of detail and creative design (and the obvious fun they had doing it) puts them up there with the effects guys of old horror. This isn’t like the modern Transformers flicks where so much CG is spewed onto the screen it makes you yearn for a Sunday walk in the park. Gantz’s artists are more refined. Among the many jaw dropping sequences one in particular made me spit out my noodles. Toward the end of the film, where our heroes confront the final boss, one of the characters goes in for a game-ending strangle hold. Reminiscent of an older anime tilted Wicked City, the boss oozes through his captors grasp and morphs into a female breast, ultimately becoming a giant woman-like monster made up of various lady parts. Call it Freudian, but I gasped. The thing frightened me. Everything about it, even the way it moved. That’s craft.

Maybe I’m gushing a little too much about this movie. Maybe it was the instant noodles I made that I truly enjoyed. Maybe I’m disturbed. Whatever it is I can say this; it saved me from the “hole”. Maybe it can save you? Safe rummaging. Freud be damned!

P.S. I heard Netflix is set to release a live-action version of Death Note, another fantastic anime. And I also hear they are working on a Castlevania series. You’re doing good Netflix. Real good. Keep it coming.

Wesley RossenrodeComment